Businesses across the world were served a major blow when faced with the crippling impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the setbacks, technological breakthroughs progressed unhindered, especially across the marketing space. Brands were quick to understand that new means were now available, and they were here for the long haul. Remote and work-from-home situations are the new normal, and brands are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to their target audiences, despite them being locked up at home. With a new year, ripe with promises of new opportunities in the ad tech space, digital transformation in 2021 becomes the thread that binds brands to survival and brings them closer to their consumers.
Ad tech predictions to watch out for in 2021:
1 AR, VR and XR
The world of augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality will soon see a culmination in the ad world. Customers will be empowered to experience how a product or service feels in real-time. IDTechX has predicted that virtual reality technology will grow over $8bn by 2030. More and more e-commerce and retail apps will witness the incorporation of AR and XR or XR and VR into their product sponsorships.
2 Martech consolidation
In-house is where digital marketing is headed, as it has been for some time now. The shift from agency to in-house has far exceeded the trend phase and moved well into becoming the new standard for digital marketing. The reasons behind this trend are increased transparency, first-party data activation, brand ownership, improved agency relationships, agility and reduced costs.
Blazing connection speeds will improve ad experiences, with huge potential for improving ad quality and delivery on mobile devices, therefore improving the user experience (UX). Mobile ads suffer from lag times and latency that have long affected the few milliseconds load of both a page’s contents and the intended ads. Nowadays, where users are constantly scrolling, slower load times deprive advertisers of the opportunity to connect with the right consumer at the right time. A simple factor such as loading a webpage or an ad on-time can improve the UX and make consumers less annoyed with ads, and consequently minimise the usage of ad blockers.
4 EU taking back control
The coronavirus pandemic may have bolstered the digital giants (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon; GAFA), but it has also strengthened calls to regulate these corporations, which continue to expand their footprint through hundreds of acquisitions. Until recently, the benefits they provided, especially in terms of innovation and services, were considered to outweigh their wrongdoings. For the EU, that has changed, and now the GAFA stand accused of not paying enough taxes, unfair competition, stealing media content and spreading fake news. The EU has unveiled an elaborate set of new rules to clip their wings. These range from imposing constraints on their power over the market to clamping down on hate speech and requirements for transparency over algorithms. A lesson having been learned from disappointing procedures and small penalties, considering the revenues being made, the Digital Services Act could see companies face hefty fines or even bans from the EU market for breaches.
5 Connected TV
During lockdown, the connected and OTT TV business was abundantly exploited. This convergence pattern will soon invite advertisers, as more and more people flock to the CTV space for entertainment consumption. Connected TV companies will also see a good chunk of budget allocations and would also be expected to merge all content streaming platforms into one.
6 The rise of dynamic creative.
The race towards programmatic trading has placed creative innovation in the back seat, but the ad tech industry is now rotating to make quality creative front and centre with dynamic creative optimisation tools. For ad campaigns to be successful, the creative message must become the focal point. Today’s dynamic creative tools, driven by machine learning, enable advertisers to serve ads that feature products, messaging and creative that are noticeably customised to each user.
Dynamic creative optimization (DCO) continues to be an authoritative tool for advertisers to connect with consumers, providing the ability to layer user-level data with targeted messages for each buyer. While large-scale personalisation and targeting was once excessively complex, time-consuming and costly, today’s DCO tools have automated the process and have rendered it simple enough to deploy across almost any type of campaign.
2021 will be a year of innovation and breakthroughs as the advertising world tries to grapple with businesses and transform them into sales. Digital is the way forward, and extensive innovation and culminations in the ad tech world are most anticipated. New and high-tech disruptions and modifications are sure to become the new face of the marketing industry.